Males as Nannies? First test for wasps' hidden baby-care skills | Science News

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Males as Nannies? First test for wasps' hidden baby-care skills

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11:04am, February 8, 2006

If scientists kidnap all adult females from a wasp nest, the young males—which normally just hang around without working—will pitch in and feed at least some of the larvae, researchers find. This shows that male wasps have the wherewithal to do a job.

The scientists removed female workers from the nests of the southern Indian wasp Ropalidia marginata. The study is the first systematic test of job skills in a social bee or wasp, says Raghavendra Gadagkar of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.

With help from Gadagkar's colleague Ruchira Sen, the males came through. However, they fed larvae "less efficiently" than the regular nursemaids do, Gadagkar and Sen report in the February Animal Behavi

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